Juneau-Douglas High School senior defenseman, and captain, Zach Bicknell was selected Player-Of-The-Week by Crimson Bears coaches and local media, for his performance against the North Pole Patriots last weekend.
“I play defense and protect the net,” Bicknell said of his position. “Pretty simple.”
Except when large sized offensive forwards, or whippet fast attackers, want to put the puck into it.
“It’s playing up high in the offensive zone and down low in the defensive zone,” Bicknell said. “Every once in a while a get a chance to put a puck in myself.”
Bicknell could easily have won multiple POTW honors with his work in the past month. At 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, Bicknell skates with a lot of ‘presence’ on the ice, according to his coaches.
“Zach had a breakthrough weekend as a player last weekend against Kenai and was able to maintain that level of competition and surpass it the following weekend versus North Pole,” JDHS assistant coach Matt Boline said. “From the moment the first puck dropped on Friday night against North Pole until the final buzzer sounded on Saturday, Zach was on a mission.”
According to coaches, winning and playing a good individual game wasn’t enough for Bicknell.
“Zach made it his mission to send a message to his team about the level of play that he expected out of them,” JDHS head coach Dave McKenna said. “Zach took a penalty in the first shift of the game. Ordinarily this is not a good thing, but the penalty that Zach took made it clear to North Pole and to the rest of the Bears team that the Bears were here to play hard nosed hockey and were going to control the outcome of this game.”
Bicknell began playing at age 13 with the Juneau Capitals. He is not sure if college hockey is in his future but is planning to study environmental engineering, an apropos subject for someone who loves the outdoors.
“I do a lot of hunting and snow-machining,” Bicknell said. “Pretty much anything outdoors.”
Bicknell has even bagged a black bear, but would rather harvest another trophy for the Crimson Bears.
“I want us to make it to state,” Bicknell said. “That’s the next stop. We are getting better every practice.”
According to coaches, Bicknell has always been a strong leader on the team. Even as a freshman he had everyone on the team looking up to him regardless of age. Through Bicknell’s efforts as a Captain and a senior the Crimson Bears have seen probably the strongest leadership core to date. On and off the ice Zach is reliable and trustworthy, just the sort of traits a coach or fellow teammate looks for in a Captain.
“Team chemistry is a lot of why I love the game,” Bicknell said. “Just being with the guys. Just going out there and playing. It is pretty rush, that is the only way I can describe skating down the ice with the puck.”